Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Our Backwards Thanksgiving

You might notice I missed a week and I will explain.

We had a very backwards Thanksgiving this year. We celebrated by mumbling a few words of generic thanks, eating lots of food and having great family time on November 24th. The real Thanksgiving came a week later.

On the Thursday before-- the regular Thanksgiving-- we vowed we would eat sensibly and offer fewer desserts than our usual “a pie apiece”. I would set out more vegetables and fewer carbs. It sounded like a great plan and all agreed to it.

The ‘pie apiece” thing got started years ago when we polled the family for their favorites and ended up with so many different requests that we ended up with as many pies as people at the table. This year we vowed to eliminate the chocolate cake and apple pie. That took us down to the spartan (at least we thought so) array of merely three pies, one plate of cookies and pumpkin bread. Plus we were going to use Cool Whip instead of real whipping cream. Is that a sacrifice or what?

Then, we eliminated mashed potatoes and all the fattening casseroles we usually make. And, for the coup de grace of sacrifices, we declared NO rolls. None.

Then my kids came. Emily showed up with a double recipe of macaroni and cheese and Elizabeth sneaked in yeast rolls. I made a second cherry pie and the girls went out and bought a cake. By Thanksgiving morning they had decided against the salad. By the time Steve came on Friday someone had bought real whipping cream for the pies and made mashed potatoes. In short, we ended up with pretty much the same thing we eat every year. In fact, when we sat down to eat on Friday we realized we had two different types of gravy. A meal with two gravies? One thing our family is good at is eating.

One vow we did keep was to exercise—a new tradition we unwittingly acquired is using the chain saw a lot on Thanksgiving. A few years ago I had intended to start a tradition of taking a gorgeous family photo on Thanksgiving for our Christmas cards. But the last two photo sessions were interrupted by a disaster of some sort. Last year it was a tree falling on our house. This year it was cleaning up after an overachieving beaver. I think I need to face the fact that getting both of our girls together with the son-in-law and the grands is always going to lead to a disaster of some sort.

All of this played out within the framework of Emily wearing a heart monitor. There were 4 or 5 leads glued to her chest with wires running to a device the shape of a cell phone clipped at her waist. She had gone to a new doctor a couple of months ago who noticed extra heartbeats. “You probably don’t even notice them yourself.” And Emily really didn’t except for the dizziness and sudden loss of energy she would occasionally experience . She thought it was anxiety attacks.

But by the morning after Thanksgiving weekend Emily’s symptoms of rapid heartbeat and dizziness had increased and the doctor slapped her in the hospital and scheduled the procedure to fix it on Wednesday. Our family has always been fairly healthy so this was new turf for us. We couldn’t get a feel for just how serious this was. On one hand the doctor and nurses acted like it was a routine and common procedure. On the other hand, they had Emily sign for permission to implant a defibrillator during the procedure if the cause of the problem turned out to be heart disease. We weren’t really sure exactly what they were going to do. One explanation was a little ‘zap’ to the heart to regulate the rhythm…another sounded like they were going to electrocute a few bad cells. I just wasn’t sure about anyone messing with my kid’s heart. By Tuesday night she was getting dizzy by just sitting up. It was frightening to me that something supposedly routine was escalating so rapidly. Our family had never had a serious medical crisis. Nobody has even been in a bad car wreck.

Beaven and I took care of the grandkids while Steve stayed with Emily. It had been a long time since I took care of little girls on a 24/7 basis. It was kind of like riding a bicycle but this time the bicycle was going a lot faster than I remembered . I discovered you can buy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the freezer case at the grocery store. I went the wrong direction getting in line to pick Sarah up at school and faced the wrath of the SUV moms who corrected my mistake without pity.

Everything turned out just fine. The ‘fix’ worked and Emily could feel an improvement as soon as she woke up. There was no heart disease. It gave us all a lot to be thankful for.

It all reminded me of the song I learned in Guatemala a few years ago:

Gracias Senor, por el dia tan lindo de hoy.
Gracias Senor, por la vida y la salud.
Vengo vengo a ti Senor
Vengo yo a ti Senor
A mostrar mi gratitude
.

(Thank you, God, for the day so beautiful as today.
Thank you, God, for life and health.
I come, I come to you, God
I come to you, God
To show my gratitude.)

2 comments:

Carol Osterhaus said...

That song brings back great memories of Guatemala. I just wanted to let you know that I am an avid reader of your blog. I always love hearing your stories!!!
-Carol (Nancy's daughter)

vme said...

So glad that Emily is fine - as usual, Jane, you did a great job of putting the Thanksgiving(s) in perspective.